A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rust-Dyeing: Some General Comments

Since the Fire blog just included a segment on rust dyeing in October, I have only a little to add here about the rust dyeing process.

In my experience, successful rust dyeing requires warm to hot temperatures to speed up the rusting reaction. When I tried rust dyeing in the past during the fall and winter, I was unsuccessful and got little reaction.

Since I had a very busy summer this year, I did not have the time to create the rust dyed shibori samples I needed for these blog postings. Given that, I had to resort to some other methods of supplying the heat that was necessary for the rusting reaction.

First, I decided to create some arashi and itajime samples using rusty cans and other objects and then steam them in a large pot over boiling water. The steam would supply the heat and moisture that is usually present in the rusting reaction.That method led to mixed results which I will discuss in a later post.

The second method involved rolling the fabric on rusty pipes. I then put the manipulated fabric into separate plastic bags and put the bags, on a metal tray, into my oven along with a bottle of hot water. I kept the oven turned off, but left the oven light on. The fabric stayed in the warm oven for 3 days. (This is the same method I use for batching fabric that I have printed with thickened dye, although then the batching period is only 24 hours.) The plastic bags kept the fabric moist, and the heat from the oven was enough to create the rusting reaction. This method was more successful than the first one .

I did not try itajime shibori using my second method since I didn’t have any rusty objects that I could use for the clamping process.

With both methods, I experimented with different wetting liquids to create the rusting process, and I will discuss these in my next post.


  1. Cool!
    Over here some of the artists wrap the damp/wet items in plastic and batch them wrapped in an electric blanket. Especially helpful for this kind of work done on a retreat or weekend course because the process can proceed further than it would under normal circumstances. And thus students can get an idea of what results could be.
    Sandy in the UK

  2. Thanks for the write up. Here in the South we have only a few cold days here and there. I'll not plan on experiments during the colder days. Although, after reading Sandy's comment, I'm having thoughts of my pizza stone sitting on top of the heating pad ...


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